The Ashland Beacon
Do you ever see a stray animal and just cringe at the thought of them being cold, lonely, or hungry? The Friends of Greenup Paws feel the same and are working to eradicate some of the problems with their volunteer group made up of pet foster parents, transporters, and networkers for the homeless animals in Greenup County and the surrounding area. They advocate for animals in need and work with other nonprofit organizations to ensure responsible rescue efforts are completed.
The FOGP organization was first formed in 2012, with a revamp in 2020 that brought them back together with several milestones. Despite the challenging times and being hit with the pandemic, they filed for a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit status registeration through Kentucky. With that, they created a board of directors to work with coordinators to facilitate animal rescuing efforts. The board of directors consists of Nichelle Lewis, Founder Stephanie Scaletta, Connie Suttles, Jim Twinam and Brittany Sparks-Weber.
While speaking with Director Nichelle Lewis, one of the first things she said to me was, "I hope this article can focus on finding more volunteers." While we hope it does that, we need to talk a little more about what they do and how you can become a volunteer.
Mrs. Lewis continued, "An important goal of ours is to promote and educate the public about what responsible pet ownership entails starting with the importance of spay and neuter." They launched a community cat TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) coalition to help reduce strays and help eliminate feline suffering. The whole idea was to help stop the uncontrolled breeding of stray cats and identify sick or diseased cats.
The organization had a transport van donated to them to make their transport runs more comfortable for the animals on board and save them the cost of vehicle rental. The generous support they have received this year from the community has enabled them to reach animals in need far and wide. Second chances for these animals could not happen without fosters, transporters, rescue coordinators, rescue partners, veterinary clinics and donors, and they are always in need of more volunteer help.
The FOGP began recording each animal that they had a positive impact on - whether it was a spay/neuter, an adoption, or an animal sent to a rescue. They rescued 705 cats and 156 dogs from the immediate area. They helped a rural Ohio shelter send 12 dogs to rescue and assisted a Kentucky shelter in sending 33 dogs and cats to rescue. And finally, with the combination of their community TNR and their "Last Litter" program, they successfully fixed 16 community cats and dogs to prevent future litters. In total, that is 922 animals that will live out their lives healthy and happy in loving homes. They celebrate those 922 animals that won't contribute to pet overpopulation or shelter burdening.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, there are a few things you should know; most of the fosters are short-term. Lewis explained that most were with fosters for three weeks or less, as they don't typically foster animals over a long period. However, if you foster an animal, your pets must have all their shots and be spayed or neutered. This rule is for the safety of all the pets, including yours, that may come in contact with each other.
They also want to remind interested people that their group does not do adoptions. They are specifically "animal advocates" and not animal rescue. Also, they do not have the human resources to do adoptions properly, so they rely on partnerships with larger animal rescue groups, most of which are out of state.
Director Lewis said, "We would love for the public to reach out to us when they see a stray animal with pictures for networking. Pictures help grab the attention of possible owners and are very important. When no owners are found, pictures then help secure potential fosters and attract rescue groups."
FOGP relies heavily on community members to alert them about animals in need. They ask that people contact them on their Facebook page to report a lost or found animal as most of them work jobs. The community may also contact them through Facebook to offer donations and to volunteer and the group will meet them conveniently. People can donate money directly to their vet accounts by calling the veterinary office at 606.836.1673, through PayPal, or by mailing a check to PO Box 258, South Shore, KY 41175. Their various administrators watch the group Facebook page, FriendsOfGreenupPaws, for messages and make every effort to respond promptly.
The PayPal link to donate is http://PayPal.me/GreenupPawsFOGP606. Their vet is Pawsitive Pet Care Clinic, located at 2201 Bellefonte Road in Flatwoods.
FOGP is a group that the Greenup area can be thankful and proud of as they work hard to improve the lives of both the animals and residents of Greenup and the surrounding areas. Consider donating your time or money to improving their mission if you have it to give.